Donald George Silva 1936-2021
Don Silva was born in the Bronx, New York on April 6, 1936. His father, uncle, and grandfather owned Silva Inc., a plumbing and heating business. He had a brother, named Richard, who was seven years younger. Rich preceded him in death, by passing in May 2020.
Don's family moved into Ann's neighborhood when they were both thirteen. Don went to Mt. St. Michael high school in the Bronx, a Catholic high school. He then attended Manhattan College, also a Catholic school. Ann was allowed to date Don because he was the only boy in the neighborhood that was going to college. They had started dating at age fifteen and were married on June 22, 1957, when they both graduated from college. Don graduated as a Civil and Sanitary engineer. Don was in ROTC in college, and in August he was inducted into the Air Force as a 2nd Lieutenant. He was assigned to the Medical Services Corp, as a Bio Environmental Engineer. (BEE). He loved the Air Force and made lifelong friends during his 20 years in the military. He also earned two master's degrees while in the Air Force - the first from Harvard, a Masters in Industrial Hygiene, the second, seven years later, from NYU, a Masters in Civil Engineering. He spent most of his military career in research programs with the Air Force Weapons Lab. When asked if he had a PhD, he would answer "no, but I have 27 of them working for me". He has stayed in contact with many of his Air Force associates through the years.
Don served in Viet Nam for a year from 1969-1970. When he got home, he wanted to do two things - learn to fly and buy a sports car. He did both. The family flew with him from Albuquerque to San Francisco, and also from Albuquerque to Pompano Beach, Florida. His sports car of choice was a Datsun 240 Z. Don retired after 20 years in the Air Force as a Lt. Colonel. At that time Mike was nineteen and going to NAU in Flagstaff, studying Environmental Engineering. Pete was eighteen and ready to start University of Florida on a wrestling scholarship and studying Industrial Engineering. Steve was sixteen and going back to the Albuquerque Academy for his last two years of high school. Don always valued education and was proud to invest in his boy's education, and later on helped with the education of many of his eight grandchildren.
Don became interested in politics and became president of the Cherry Hills Civic Association. He ran for the New Mexico House of Representatives and served for eight years. He rose to the rank of minority whip. He gave that up because he disliked campaigning and having to ask people for money. While in the legislature, he earned a third master's degree from UNM's Anderson School of Business. Then he started the Estates at Desert Ridge community association and was president for ten years.
He worked for a few engineering firms after retiring from the Air Force. Every time a contract was bid, he would go to work for the firm that had been awarded the contract. Don also taught at the University of Phoenix for seventeen years. When asked what he taught, he would answer - "Statistics, and Quantitative Analysis- the subjects no one else wants to teach."
Don and Ann were the owners of Ann Silva's Sewing Center from 1980 until 2016 when Steve took over the business. He was her behind the scenes supporter, gave her many good ideas, and never said "No" when she needed money to support some expansion. Don made those around him better because of his influence.
Don and Ann moved to Maricopa , Arizona in 2016. They lived in an active adult community where Don continued to give input to the advisory committee, and finance committee. There he was finally able to indulge in his three favorite hobbies - poker, shooting with the gun club, and the Maricopa Investment Club.
Don’s greatest accomplishment and joy was his wonderful family. He is survived by three sons - Michael, Peter and wife - Kim, and Steven and wife - Elizabeth. He had eight grandchildren -Alexandria, Danielle, Nicole, Anthony, Amanda, Marco, Andreas, and Christopher. Lastly, he had three great grandchildren - Scarlett, Sloane, and Cameron. He was looking forward to the arrival of his fourth great grandchild in late June.
Don and Ann were married for 63 years when he passed on April 30, 2021. He was a mentor to many and will not be forgotten. Rest In Peace, Don Silva
A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, June 5, 2021, 2:00 p.m., at FRENCH - Westside. He will be laid to rest at Santa Fe National Cemetery.
The family would like you to view the service which will be live streamed and available for viewing by clicking on the link below.
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